Girls have not realised what they have done: India U19 coach

Feb 04, 2023 10:50 PM IST

Took three days for me and the support staff to soak in the feeing of winning the World Cup, says Nooshin Al Khadeer

It has been an eventful week for coach Nooshin Al Khadeer. Soon after coaching India under-19 team to the World Cup title in South Africa, Khadeer was in Ahmedabad for a felicitation by the Indian board. Then, she moved to Ranchi for the senior one-day tournament as Railways’ head coach. When Railways were playing Kerala in the quarter-finals, the former India off-spinner was named bowling coach of the Gujarat Giants for the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL).

Al Khadeer said the way BCCI put together a felicitation programme was “commendable.” (BCCI) PREMIUM
Al Khadeer said the way BCCI put together a felicitation programme was “commendable.” (BCCI)

Speaking from Ranchi, she said: “The World Cup win came after a long wait for an Indian team. India has played in three World Cup finals (including T20) but could not take the winners’ trophy. The girls did a fine job. They adapted well to the conditions and understood what was required of them to win the final.”

Al Khadeer said the way BCCI put together a felicitation programme was “commendable.” And that seeing having Sachin Tendulkar encouraging the young girls “was surreal.”

“It took three days for me and my support staff to soak in the feeling. The girls have not realised yet what they have done for India women’s cricket.”

Just before the youth World Cup, the legendary Mithali Raj, who was ICC’s ambassador for the under-19 World Cup, spent time with the team. On the night before the final, the team got a chance to interact with Olympic Games gold medallist Neeraj Chopra who was at the ground in Potchefstroom to watch India beat England for the title.

“It was wonderful to have Mithali speak with the girls ahead of their first World Cup tie against the hosts. She has played for India for two decades and seen it all. She shared inputs on how to tackle pressure and perform on the big stage. Neeraj was by chance training at the same premises the girls were in. They bumped into him at the gym. He was gracious enough to speak to the girls and tell them how to handle success. Having Mithali and Neeraj was huge for the team because many girls come from remote areas.”

Al Khadeer took 100 ODI and14 Test wickets. She was part of the team that lost the 2005 World Cup final to Australia. Talking about her journey from cricketer to coach, she said: “It has been a learning experience. I hope to share my learning with Gujarat Giants head coach Rachel Haynes.”

Tushar Arothe as batting coach and fielding coach Gavan Twining are part of the franchise’s technical staff and Raj mentor. “It’s very rare that people understand T20 cricket and what preparations are required. With Haynes and Gavan in the coaching staff, they will bring a lot to the table with WBBL experience behind them,” said Al Khadeer. Haynes has played for Sydney Thunder in the WBBL.

Al Khadeer said she WPL would be a major global event. “WPL is definitely going to change a lot in Indian women’s cricket. The domestic players will benefit the most when they share the dressing room with international cricketers and see how they prepare. And when they return to domestic cricket after WPL, they will share the information with others.”

Till now, only Gujarat Giants and the Mumbai Indians have named coaches. Jhulan Goswami has been roped in by Mumbai Indians as mentor and bowling coach. Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Lucknow Warriors have not yet named their staff.

The WPL auction is likely to be held in Mumbai this month. Asked if U-19 stars Shafali Verma, Titas Sadhu, Shweta Sehrawat, Archana Devi, Parshavi Chopra and Soumya Tiwari will command attention in the auction, the 41-year-old coach said: “It is too early to say anything on this from our franchise’s point of view. But these girls have shown their mettle.”

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    Shalini Gupta is a member of the Chandigarh sports team and has been a sports journalist for 10 years. She mainly writes on cricket.

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